Mental Health Challenges in Our Current Population of Adolescents: Keeping the Future Safe (Part II)
By Jean Eljay, PhD, MS, CMT, CHt, NLPc, AdvCH, CHt
There are many significant ways to protect our adolescents from the negativity of this ever-challenging world.
One way of improving both the long- and short-term effects of these debilitating mental health issues is screening. In a draft earlier this month of recommendations and ongoing preventative actions, the United States Preventive Services Task Force outlined the depth of this problem, as well as indicating the potential impact of future screening.
The overview is that screening can impact the unhealthy consequences of anxieties. This focus emerged from the increasing and very worrying statistics recently collected. The adolescent population is characteristically underserved and underdiagnosed. This is especially true in mental health. Throughout the world population, several disturbing increases in mental health issues are currently being documented. Adolescents is thought of as the phase of life between childhood and adulthood, from ages 10 to 19. A recent study indicated that suicide is the second leading cause of death among children ages 10 to 19.
That is an extremely disturbing statistic by any measure. What is the trend today in the young adolescent? With the recent adverse and threatening events taking place around the world, one must consider the impact on this most vulnerable population of our young. A few of the short-term effects on untreated anxiety are 1) an increased risk for later depression, 2) continuing anxiety 3) behavioral problems and 4) substance abuse. The human body was never intended for constant uncertainty and continuous challenges. Based on the diagnostic interview data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement, the team found that the lifetime prevalence of any anxiety disorder among U.S. adolescents aged 13-18 is estimated as 31.9%. This clearly suggests that one in three adolescents has the type of anxiety that will influence their health. Significantly, there is an estimated incidence of 8.3% for very severe impairment.
This challenge to health is never clearer than in the adolescent population. In a recent study by The National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health defines anxieties as “….wide variety of anxiety disorders [that] differ by the objects or situations that induce them, but share features of excessive anxiety and related behavioral disturbances. The definition of anxieties defined by HypnoBiosis, a division of Blue Swallow Consulting, LLC is “anxieties are threatening lies from the future that the mind makes up”. Although this last definition is neither clinical nor generally in use, it does lessen the load of anxiety. If anxieties are like an ever-expanding balloon, it makes sense that thinking of them as lies helps to put a pin in the balloon. Repeating this definition does not cure it, but it certainly deflates the impact of anxiety.
There are several screening methods available for this population, although the use of them has been generally limited. Everyone has short-term anxiety. Circumstances can and does induce stretches of high anxiety. However, when that anxiety persists, it is probably a good time to seek the help of a professional health practitioner. There is a vast body of pediatric literature that shows that when the anxiety is recognized as a warning signal and it is handled in a positive way, the underlying problems that may be causing anxiety in your adolescent diminishes. There are several sets of tools and suggestions that re-
inject peace and harmony. These tools are simple and straightforward, as well as easy to use. This personalized plan can be now implemented and applied with guidance and help. If you have further questions, a qualified health professional will help your adolescent by simplify a startup plan and by establishing accountability for the positive results.